Unobtrusive, in-home assessment of older adults' everyday activities and health events: associations with cognitive performance over a brief observation period

Neuropsychol Dev Cogn B Aging Neuropsychol Cogn. 2022 Sep;29(5):781-798. doi: 10.1080/13825585.2021.1917503. Epub 2021 Apr 18.


In-home assessment of everyday activities over many months to years may be useful in predicting cognitive decline in older adulthood. This study examined whether a comparatively brief data collection period (3 months) may yield similar diagnostic information. A total of 91 community-dwelling older adults without dementia underwent baseline neuropsychological testing and completed weekly computer-based surveys assessing health-related events/activities. A subset of participants wore fitness tracker watches assessing daily sleep and physical activity patterns, used a sensor-instrumented pillbox, and had their computer use frequency recorded on a daily basis. Similar patterns in computer use, sleep and medication use were noted in comparison to prior literature with more extensive data collection periods. Greater computer use and sleep, as well as self-reported pain and independence, were also linked to better cognition. These activities and symptoms may be useful correlates of cognitive function even when assessed over a relatively brief monitoring period.

Keywords: Home-based clinical assessment; aging; cognitive assessment; computer use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires